ELKHART - Older teenagers - considered sexual predators - for having sex with teens who are underage. Is it justice? Or as some parents argue, sex crime laws gone too far?
Darian Yoder was 19 years old when he found a girl claiming to be 17 on a Facebook dating app called "Hot Or Not." After chatting online for a couple weeks, she asked him to come over late one night. They had sex.
Nine months later, state troopers arrested Yoder for sexual misconduct. A judge telling him that girl was only 13-years-old.
Heeding advice from his probation officer, Darian Yoder agreed to talk to us, but asked us not to show his face. He says he knows he made a mistake, but he's not a sexual predator.
"I know I'm not a sex offender," said Yoder. "Had I known her age, I never would have even talked to her."
The young man can't go to church, a park, or even a mall.
"It's just far too much," said Yoder. "I have no life. I can't do anything."
"It's not a family anymore," said Yoder's mother Vanissa Messick. "And it just doesn't feel like it ever will be."
Darian says he can't be near anyone under age 18, including his younger brother and sister, whom he hasn't seen since his arrest.
"I mean we can't have Christmas," said Messick. "He cant see them on his birthday, he can't... anything"
Ervin Yoder says it's been painful to watch his grandson lose everything.
"It was so hard on me," said Ervin. "I just didn't know what to do."
Then he stumbled upon FOX28's story on another Elkhart teen, Zach Anderson.
"I says it can't be," there's another one just like it."
Like Darian, Zach met a girl on the same app, who also, he says, lied about her age. And like Darian, Anderson will forever be a registered sex offender.
"I just kept watching and watching and watching," said Ervin. "I think I went through every news channel there was to watch, every time!"
The two young men even have the same judge - Dennis Wiley. The Yoders have been inspired by the Andersons.
"What they're doing for their son is awesome," said Messick. "And I just wish I was able to do that for my son."
The Yoders say they plan to fight to get Darian off the sex offender registry, but need money for a lawyer first.
The Yoders and Andersons are far from the only families facing a situation like this. There are more than 840,000 men, women and children listed as sex offenders in the U.S. Some as young as 8 years-old. Their crimes range from sexting, to playing doctor, to urinating in public. It's an issue that has many families calling for changes to sex crime laws. ..Source.. by Alexis Gray